“It’s a strange thing watching the National Party’s reaction to losing power”

Heather du Plessis-Allan is onto it as well

It’s a strange thing watching the National Party’s reaction to losing power. You would expect the entire lot to sulk and shuffle about in sad hangovers. But they’re not. They show almost no outward signs of losing their jobs. If you turn down the volume next time Bill English is on TV, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s still the Prime Minister, such is his game face.

It’s hard to know whether this is just a public act to hide the private wailing and rending of clothes, or whether they truly believe they’ll be back in 2020.

Either way, they’re giving the impression it’s all just a bit of a hassle and they’ll be back to the Beehive very soon.

They are in denial.  They won.  Seriously, they think they won!   

You can see why they’re so confident. With a huge and outwardly unified team, they could give the new Government a lot of gyp for three years. A 44 per cent result on election night means a lot of voters still like them and could be infuriated by the perceived injustice of the biggest party relegated to Opposition. And they’re keeping their leaders who, after nine years in power, are more familiar than your neighbours.

Plus, who can tell what’s going to happen on the other side.? If house prices slump and the economy slows down as predicted, voters may (probably unfairly) blame the new Government. And goodness only knows how united the Government can be when the leaders of the two chunky support parties didn’t even bother to meet for weeks post-election.

That’s exactly their expectation – that Labour and its unholy alliance will stuff it all up sooner rather than later, and that the voters will rush back to National asking to be rescued.

But the problem for National isn’t so much Labour’s non-performance, it is that the internal power dynamics have changed.

National usually doesn’t end up in quite the same screaming mess Labour manages in Opposition, but it has its own problems all the same. The fact it secured just 21 per cent of the vote in 2002 shows just how confused National can get.

It’s often ambition that causes trouble, and there’s plenty of that in National. Some of the younger up and coming backbenchers are itching for a promotion. They weren’t given much under John Key or English, and Jonathan Coleman’s challenge for the party leadership after Key’s resignation in December was a backbench shot over the leadership bow.

The two Benedict Arnolds that leaked during the coalition negotiations causing NZ First to throw in the towel with National is a perfect example of how National’s internal power “plate tectonics” is likely to cause earthquakes in the party that will spill to the media.  The media will be used as a tool by various factions.

There is zero percent chance that National will get to 2020 without some serious public infighting.


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.